Ryan O’Keefe: If it rocks, we’ll have it!

Aussie rockers Airbourne have today released new album No Guts, No Glory.

Rhythm recently caught up with drummer Ryan O´Keefe for his views on recording the album, his set up and his love of keeping his beats hard, heavy and simple.

What kit did you use on the album?

A Tama Starclassic Birch Bubinga with Remo skins and Zildjian cymbals. I´ve had the Starclassic shipped over to the UK. All over territories I use a hire kit. It´s a great sound.

What set up did you use?

I think it´s 12”, 14”, 16”, 18” but it´s sometimes 12”, 13”, 16”, 18” depending on if it´s a hire kit. But I don´t really use the toms too much, if I do it´s a bit of a special occasion. We always tune them big and loud and I give them a good whack at the end of songs. But then there´s a few on this album, that´s the difference, there´s a few rolls and fills that I should have learnt to do ten years ago! ‘Bottom Of The Well´ has got some good big toms.

Were you wary of over complicating the beats?

We are physically incapable of over complicating our music. We might have an idea that starts getting a little complicated and it´ll be scrapped. Then we´ll rehash it, grab a beer or if it rocks we´ll have it.

Did you try anything new with your drum sound on the album?

Not really. We tried adding a third cymbal, I still only use two crash cymbals and don´t even have a ride. We went with the same kind of thing, big kick drum and snare. It´s pretty self explanatory when it comes to my drum department!

Phil Rudd doesn´t throw too much ride in so you´re in good company.

Yeah, I think I´ve only heard him use the ride on ‘Hells Bells´. It´s definitely something I haven´t found a use for yet! I had one when we were little kids and broke it and then never replaced it.

Did you feel any pressure recording the new album?

We didn´t feel pressure. We know what we do, we knew what we wanted to do. We went to Australia, and because Australia is so far from the rest of the world you kind of don´t feel the pressure. We just went to an old pub, had the whole pub to ourselves for six months, went in and just made the songs. After six months in Australia we went to Chicago for three months to record. We only make our music for ourselves as rock fans, so we don´t feel pressure. I think a lot of punters that come to our shows that agree with our taste in rock ‘n´ roll.

For more from Ryan, check out the April issue of


, which goes on sale 16 March.

Chris Barnes

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce Editor. In addition to testing the latest music gear, with a particular focus on electronic drums, it's my job to manage the 300+ buyer's guides on MusicRadar and help musicians find the right gear for them at the best prices. I dabble with guitar, but my main instrument is the drums, which I have been playing for 24 years. I've been a part of the music gear industry for 20 years, including 7 years as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine Rhythm, and 5 years as a freelance music writer, during which time I worked with the world's biggest instrument brands including Roland, Boss, Laney and Natal.